Views on Transience, Permanence, Art, Life, and Beauty in Keats’ Odes | Literary Articles
'Ode on a Grecian Urn' is one of the five great odes Keats earlier) in its exploration of the relationship between imagined beauty and the harsh, Keats does not describe a specific urn in his ode, but he knew Greek art from engravings, and the subjects of the urn from the impermanence of human life. Keats' most significant views on art are expressed in his “Ode to a Grecian Urn,” In this Ode he makes a contrast between human life and the life of the Urn. ODE ON A GRECIAN URN: this is Keats' best known poem, it Is in the form of This ode is a complex meditation on the relationship between art and life and a.
Although their fate sounds terrible, Keats believes a destiny frozen is a destiny immortal, which, preserved in the beauty of art, is a wonderful thing. Not only will he delight in her beauty without an end, but she will never age in his eyes: Keats found one of the most revealing qualities of eternal life in artwork to be its quietness.
Music is composed of notes and rhythm, both of which begin and end in syncopation, so time controls the life and death of a song. Keats viewed sound as a mortal art; the pleasure felt by hearing a delightful noise dies away after the noise ends.
However, the melodies played by the minstrels on the urn continue without any restraint for all of time: The songs, being forever new with each passing second, are caught on pause in the earthly world in what an observer would see as eternal quiet.
Silence has no boundaries and it exists on its own forever when you take away the accompaniment of noise. In the third stanza, Keats touches on the tidal waves of human emotion.
People, in reality, have fluid emotions, either gradually or instantly rollercoasting from joy to sadness to anger to fear, through all of the thousands of other emotions we experience every day, evolving with time always from one to the next. Yet, in the urn, with the exception of the somber sacrifice procession, the characters are caught in a constant state of mania. More happy, happy love! To Keats, nature means death.
He is a part of nature himself, and he faces death every day with the ever present knowledge of his oncoming demise by tuberculosis. On the urn, nature thrives.Ode on a Grecian Urn
The trees never lose their leaves nor do their boughs become any less happythe heifer is always dressed in garlands, the weed is always trodden, and the spring is never bid adieu. However, its relative permanence is also a reminder of mortality and the brevity of human life.
Ode on a Grecian Urn In Ode on a Grecian Urn Keats explores difference in viewpoint between the ephemeral people depicted on the urn and that of the viewer. In stanza 4 the mysteriously moving group fails to see the pathos of its own situation. No one in this group seems remotely aware that, for the group to exist, the town from which they have come has had to be emptied: In fact the procession will always remain beautiful, even though the culture which produced it has long vanished.
Just as we rarely appreciate things so much as when we lose them, so transitory human life becomes more valued the more one is aware of its fragility and brevity. For Keats, poetry can be neither beautiful nor useful if the poet shuts his eyes to the dark reality of human suffering and death. The Bible describes God as the unique supreme being, creator and ruler of the universe. The frozen lover on the urn demonstrates how love and life go unfulfilled, permanently and universally, and the frozen loveliness of the fair maiden, by its very permanence, makes apparent the fleetingness of outward beauty.
The urn inspires a series of emotions and rapid questions from the viewer.
How Are Art & Life Contrasted in the Poem "Ode on a Grecian Urn"?
More happy, happy love! The language of this response is so searing and penetrating because the viewer has realized a truth: The fourth stanza enters into the realm of speculation about the urn, in which Keats addresses the overwhelming presence of mystery in life.
Keats contemplates the image of the sacrifice, with a priest leading a heifer decorated with garlands to the altar. However, this sacrifice has some ambiguity and mystery around the edges because he is unable to determine anything else about the image.
He is led to supplement this scene by imagining a little town on a coast or a mountain that is empty because of some religious celebration pertaining to the priest and the sacrifice. The key lines, however, come at the end: The streets will always remain silent because the urn is frozen in time.
The way in which the urn leaves the viewer to muse upon the mysterious details of this town represents how wondering at the unknowable, going without answers, and simply not being able to know everything is an unavoidable part of the human condition. In his lecture, Wolfe too addressed this value of ambiguity in literature. Mystery and ambiguity are humbling in that they make obvious the limits of human knowledge and the difficulty of putting morals into practice Wolfe.
John Keats’ Vision for Art in ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’
Keats acknowledges this limit of knowledge through the use of ambiguity in the fourth stanza, and then defines the limits of knowledge more directly in the final lines of the poem, when he describes how time and mystery will humble and waste man, but knowledge of beauty and truth will remain.
From the fourth stanza to the fifth, Keats crosses over from exploring the nature of the human condition as treated by the urn to exploring the relationship between art and life, holding up the urn as an example.
The urn, as a true piece of art, gently tugs its viewer out of a disconnected contemplation into a contemplation in communion with the piece of art, just as the thought of eternity pulls an individual out of his disconnected time and place, or even his disconnected life, and into a conception of time far more complex and profound than his individual, unfulfilled life.